There is gravely difficult news to share. As you may have begun to hear through news reports, police have identified remains found in Southampton County as those of our missing student, Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell.
Though the weight of this horrible prospect has loomed, today extinguishes our hope of AJ’s safe return and confirms our worst fear. Our thoughts are profoundly with her family. These past weeks, they have endured unimaginable anguish and uncertainty, and now they must confront the terrible grief of this loss.
As we keep AJ's family foremost in our thoughts, our tight-knit community will also feel great heartache. My thoughts are especially with those at Longwood who knew AJ best – her hometown friends, her hallmates, her fellow members of the club softball and club field hockey teams, her professors. I also know how many of you, even if you did not know AJ personally, have been deeply affected and concerned these past weeks. I know how many of you wore ribbons and reached out to friends and family beyond Longwood to raise awareness of the search. We are also grateful to the Longwood Police, who have helped to the utmost in aiding the Norfolk Police in whatever way they could. All of Longwood shares enormously in this grief. I am personally deeply grateful to the Norfolk officials with whom I and others here have been in close touch throughout, and who have worked tirelessly and with such compassion in an investigation that continues.
In the days and weeks ahead, I encourage all of us to reach out – to faculty, friends, student affairs staff and to our counseling center – to share your feelings and support. Days and grief such as this yield nothing except perspective, and call us all to care that much more for one another. At an appropriate juncture and with the wishes of the family, we will look to hold a service on campus in AJ's memory.